Last night, I continued to lead a three-week Bible study on Pursuing Christ (this was week two and it may turn into a 5-week - LOL). The overall study is based on Matthew 6: 33, “ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We are dealing with the three key words in that verse – seek, first, and righteousness. This week, we dealt with the term first.
Is Christ REALLY first in your life? The key verse we used to look at this term is Mark 12:30. The principal commandment Jesus emphasized when asked “what is the greatest commandment?” is to love God more than anything (Dougald McLaurin paraphrased – LOL), and then the second is to love our neighbors!
What does it look like to “love God more than anything else?” I think we all need to examine our walk with the Lord and address this issue. If Jesus Christ is LORD of our lives and we are genuinely placing Him first in our daily lives, then our lives should look markedly different than people who have not accepted Christ. That is true for 16 year olds, 116 year olds, and all of us in between!
In our study I asked them some simple “thought questions:”
• What does it mean that Jesus is to be LORD/master of EVERYTHING?
• What does the word ALL mean?
• What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?
• If Jesus is really first, then how is that displayed in the way we live our lives each day?
I believe these are questions we all need to answer in our daily lives. People around us need to see a real difference because we say Jesus is important to us. In fact, we sometimes sing “Jesus is all the world to me,” and what we really mean is SOMETIMES, He is all (with a very loose interpretation of the word all) the world to me.
Simple answer to be included in each of the above questions – everything means everything, all means all, and lord means lord (master of everything). As you set out this day, is Jesus Christ truly Lord of ALL in your life? If yes, then think about how that is to be displayed as you go throughout your day. If not, then what is holding you back from allowing Him to be Lord of ALL for you? What idols are you holding on to?
I challenged our youth to pray and seek counsel from the Lord through His word by choosing a life verse to help guide them through this season of their lives. I shared several of mine through the years, beginning as a teenager to this day. It was funny as I reflected upon the different verses through the years how they were applicable to what was going on in my life at the time. When I was immature in my walk and I was “learning” what it meant to be Christian, God gave me Ephesians 4: 17, 30, and then Ephesians 5: 1 – 2. Today it is 2 Corinthians 11: 28. In between, there has been several, but all have served to remind me of God’s expectations of His people during those seasons of my life and served as a quick guide to the way I am to live as a responsible follower of Christ.
Just in case you are wondering, the “nuggets” of the above life verses are simple and direct:
• In Ephesians 4: 17 Jesus says to me, Dougald do not live like a lost person…..
• In Ephesians 4: 30 Jesus says to me, Dougald do not cause the Holy Spirit sorrow by the way you live your life today…..
• Ephesians 5: 1 – 2 says, Dougald if you don’t know what to do, just imitate me….present yourself as a living sacrifice—one that is pleasing and acceptable to God….
• And 2 Corinthians 11: 28 reminds me, in addition to everything else before you, God has called you to be actively engaged in strengthening His church. As Paul declared in this verse, “besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”
I challenge you as you begin this day, to examine your life – is Jesus REALLY first? Have you made Him LORD of ALL? Perhaps you need to pray and seek a personal word from the Lord in a life verse that will guide you in this season of your life. You will NOT know God fully, nor experience that “life more abundant” Jesus came to give until you surrender all to Him.